Last living 9/11 Ground Zero search dog returns to site on anniversary

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NEW YORK CITY, NY — The last known surviving Ground Zero search dog visited the site on Sept. 11.

The golden retriever named Bretagne went with her owner Denise Corliss back to  downtown Manhattan area on the 13-year-anniversary of the terrorist attacks.

Bretagne worked 12-hour days, alongside hundreds of other dogs during her 9-11 mission. She was only two years old at the time and is now 15. Her handler at Ground Zero was also Corliss.

Rescue dog Bretagne 13 years ago and today. PHOTO COLLAGE: Today Show screenshot and Texas Task Force.

Rescue dog Bretagne 13 years ago and today. PHOTO COLLAGE: Today Show screenshot and Texas Task Force.

“Seeing this kind of took my breath away a bit, similar to how the pile was the first time I saw it,” Corliss, told the Today show. “It’s so calm and peaceful now, unlike the chaos of before.”

Corliss and Bretagne are from Texas. They watched the tragedy unfold on television and then joined rescue efforts.

When not searching for live victims, rescue dogs often served as therapy dogs for emergency responders, according to the New York Daily News.  During an interview with the Today Show, Corliss recalled a time when Bretagne comforted a firefighter.

“It was like she was flipping me the paw,” Corliss told the Today Show. “She went right to that firefighter and laid down next to him and put her head on his lap.”

Search dogs that were present at Ground Zero not only worked long days, they also faced other roadblocks, including injury and depression. Search dogs can become depressed if they don’t find any survivors.

Corliss told New York Daily News that Bretagne also helped in rescue efforts after several hurricanes, including Hurricane Katrina.

Bretagne is competing for a Hero Dog Award. You can vote here for her.